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Where'd They Get Their Guns?

An Analysis of the Firearms Used in High-Profile Shootings, 1963 to 2001

Date: February 28, 1997

Location: North Hollywood, California

Alleged Shooters: Emil Dechebal Matasareanu and Larry Eugene Phillips, Jr.

People Killed: Two (shooters killed by police)

People Injured: 16

Firearm(s): Multiple fully automatic assault rifles including an AK-47 type


On February 28, 1997, Matasareanu and Phillips tried to rob a Bank of America branch office in North Hollywood, California. While trying to escape, the two men engaged in a shootout with police. Though vastly outnumbered, the two men�armed with automatic weapons and wearing body armor�successfully held off law enforcement personnel for hours before being shot and killed by police.

How Firearm(s) Acquired

The weapons were originally bought at a gun show and then illegally resold to Matasareanu and Phillips.


  1. Jaxon Van Derbeken, "The Gunmen; Glendale Police Alerted FBI to Pair," The Daily News of Los Angeles, 2 March 1997, sec. N, p. 1.
  2. Terri Hardy and Dorothy Korber, "Capitol Notebook: Newsworthy Guns Acquired Through Shows," The Daily News of Los Angeles, 2 May 1999, sec. V, p. 3.
  3. Dennis Prager, "Perspective on Ethics: Whom Should We Save First?," Los Angeles Times, 26 April 1998, sec. M, p. 5.

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 All contents � 2001 Violence Policy Center


The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.